New Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she may bring a no-confidence motion in the winter session of Parliament against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The TMC was a member of the Congress party-led UPA until Banerjee recently pulled out of the coalition over the government’s decision to increase diesel prices, limit the supply of subsidized cooking gas to households, and allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
The problem for the Congress is likely to be compounded by another key ally, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which has 18 members in the Lok Sabha, vowing to support any move against FDI in retail and the hike in diesel prices.
“Allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in the name of economic reforms will spell doom for developing countries like India,” the DMK said in a resolution adopted at an emergency meeting of its executive in Chennai, chaired by its president M. Karunanidhi. “... this executive insists the central government to reconsider the decision to allow FDI” in multi-brand retail, it added.
Banerjee’s rally in Delhi on Monday against the government’s decisions found unexpected support from Sharad Yadav, convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) that’s led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the principal opposition.
Banerjee said her party would agitate throughout the country against the decisions.
“If Mulayam Singh (Samajwadi Party chief) and other political parties want, then even we do not wish to have this government in Parliament. If need be, we are ready for bringing a no-confidence motion against this government,” she said, addressing a crowd at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
Banerjee’s plan for a no-confidence motion, however, may not find enough backers among the opposition parties.
The NDA has already rejected such a move and the Samajwadi Party, which gives outside support to the government, is also opposed to it.
The TMC, which has 19 members in the Lok Sabha, pulled out its six ministers from the UPA government on 21 September after the alliance rejected her demand to withdraw the economic measures.
Banerjee on Monday said her party will make a “federal front” with the help of state parties to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the UPA government. “This is not for power but for the people.”
The presence of Yadav, a leader of the Janata Dal (United) party, on the same stage as Banerjee surprised political observers and sparked speculation that the NDA was making an effort to attract the TMC into its fold.
Yadav said he had not come to the rally on behalf of the NDA.
He praised Banerjee for rebelling against the UPA.
“There is no one else who is so brave and with so much ability to take risk. She is the real tiger of Bengal. Her call will not end here but would rather spread to rest of the country,” he said.
Political analyst N. Bhaskar Rao said Yadav’s presence at the rally indicated that many parties were considering the possibility of forming a third front—a political alternative to the Congress and the BJP. “There is the third front. Everybody is playing with the idea and everybody is exploring the possibilities (of adding new allies),” he said.
Commenting on Banerjee’s threat to call a no-confidence motion, Rao said: “No-confidence is another available avenue. If she brings it, at least Parliament will function and some issues will be discussed.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address a rally at Ramlila Ground on 28 October as part of a campaign to explain the benefits of the recent economic measures, PTI reported, quoting Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
A number of rallies will be organized in the coming days to educate people about the benefits of the reform measures taken by the Union government, she told a gathering in the capital.
PTI contributed to this story.